Coronavirus: UK death toll rises by 684 in biggest daily increase yet to 3,605

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Medical staff at an NHS drive through ahead of today's figures being announced. (PA Images)

The number of officially recorded coronavirus-related deaths has climbed to 3,605 in the UK, up 684 from the 2,921 announced on Thursday.

It represents the third successive day that the country’s daily death toll rose by the highest amount since the outbreak started.

The number of confirmed cases has increased by 4,450 to 38,168 from yesterday’s total of 33,718.

The figures come as health secretary Matt Hancock warned the UK’s peak for cases was on its way within weeks.

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He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the peak could arrive in the next few weeks.

“It’s very, very sensitive to how many people follow the social distancing guidelines,” he said.

Hancock has returned to take press conferences after he tested positive for coronavirus.

He told the radio programme: “It was a pretty unpleasant experience, I went downhill on Thursday last week and for a couple of nights it was very hard to sleep, incredibly painful throat, it was like having glass in my throat.”

He said he had also suffered a “bit of a cough” and lost half a stone in weight.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, at the opening of the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre in London, ahead of the new figures being released today. (PA Images)

Yesterday, Hancock announced the government was aiming to carry out 100,000 coronavirus tests a day after criticism about efforts to check whether NHS staff have been infected.

“Robust population surveillance programmes are essential for understanding the rate of infection and how the virus is spreading across the country,” Mr Hancock said, announcing a five point plan that included teaming up with big pharmaceutical companies and using universities and businesses to set up test sites.

Ahead of the anticipated peak, a new hospital called the NHS Nightingale was opened at the ExCel centre in London today by Prince Charles, who has come out of self-isolation after being infected with coronavirus.

The hospital can house 4,000 beds if needed, and was built by the military, labourers and NHS staff over a two-week period.

The Prince of Wales said via videolink from Scotland: “The creation of this hospital is above all the result of an extraordinary collaboration and partnership between NHS managers, the military and all those involved to create a centre on a scale that has never been seen before in the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the British public joined in another clap for carers on Thursday night.

The nationwide initiative is designed to give NHS staff a boost as they continue to treat the ever-increasing cases of coronavirus patients.

They were joined at Downing Street by Boris Johnson, who has been self-isolating after testing positive for the coronavirus – one of several key government members, including the chief medical officer Chris Whitty and senior adviser Dominic Cummings – to either be infected or display symptoms.

Staff from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital join in a national applause during Thursday's nationwide Clap for Carers NHS initiative to applaud NHS workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic. (PA Images)

Globally, the number of coronavirus cases has passed the one million mark, according to Johns Hopkins University in the US.

There have been more than 217,000 recoveries and 53,000 deaths but the real total number of cases is likely to be much higher due to countries’ testing methods.

The country with the most cases is now the US, with more than 245,000 infections, followed by Italy and Spain who have both reported more than 115,000.

Italy has suffered more than 13,000 deaths while Spain has recorded at least 10,000.

Germany, which has carried out an extensive testing regime, has more than 84,000 cases, surpassing China, where the virus broke out from, where officials have recorded just over 82,000.

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